Tag Archives: NHS

Social care is running on empty – but technology can make a difference

There is no single solution to the challenges facing the sector, but technology enabled care can save cash-strapped councils money

It would be easy, but misleading, to say that social care is in crisis. Somehow in many parts of England the system staggers on, using devolution to its advantage. A number of councils have adopted improved ways of working.

However, the sustainability of the system is increasingly being called into question. Whether it’s the Adass budget survey, research by the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust, or my report for the Carers Trust on the Care Act, the message is broadly the same: the system is running on empty, and people are suffering the consequences.

Why has this not exploded into a major political issue? Most MPs acknowledge that social care is unfinished business, but this has not translated into sufficient political pressure. At a basic level, this is because most people make no distinction between social care, care and support and what the NHS does. It still comes as a shock to many families that social care is not free. Most people make no care plans because they have discounted the chances of ever needing it.

Today the most visible advocate for social care funding is the NHS England boss, Simon Stevens. He told the NHS Confederation conference earlier this year that social care, rather than the NHS, should be at the front of the queue for financial aid. Of course there is a healthy dose of self-interest in this. Health and social care are two sides of the same coin – underinvest in one and you undermine the other.

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We need to talk about dementia – Dementia Awareness Week launches today

The numbers tell the story: almost two in every 100 people between 65 and 69 have dementia. Among those just 20 years older – 85 to 89 – that figure is one in five.

In Norfolk alone, up to 17,000 are affected. Over the next decade, that number is expected to double. It is a condition it is hard to escape.

Throughout Dementia Awareness Week, the EDP and Norwich Evening News will be highlighting ground-breaking research into the condition, focusing on how people can reduce their risk of developing it, and how our region can support those living with it.

Willie Cruickshank, director of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance, said the issue was one which should be a personal responsibility for every one of us.

“There is a reticence to talk about dementia but we need to start having these discussions,” he said.

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NHS mental health funding is still lagging behind, says report

Only 55% of mental health trusts have reported increases to budgets since 2012 when ‘parity of esteem’ with physical health was promised

Government pledges to put more money into mental health are being broken because the NHS is not passing the money on to the NHS trusts that treat patients, a new report has revealed.

Care for people who need psychological help will suffer unless a chasm is bridged between ministerial promises and cash reaching the frontline, campaigners warn.

The disparity also threatens to undermine the historic change in 2012 that compelled the NHS in England to give physical and mental health equal priority or “parity of esteem”. Although mental ill-health accounts for 28% of the total burden of disease, it gets just 13% of the NHS’s budget.

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